Friday, 11 January 2013

The nth Degree... Sharing it!

Getting Off Flat Street...



Auzat, Pyrenees
" ... It was the most difficult thing to hear, when Kalba said that I wasn't  going to forget it; that I was going to have to learn to let it pass through me in a way that would hurt slowly for a while yet, but at the same time, allow me to move on. 

I had never felt such fear in my life and I had experienced some fearful things with climbing and other stuff. My worry was that if I committed to telling my horrendous childhood story to another human being, then it would become real, and to face such a thing as real when all I could do as a young boy was to 'split' real to unreal to make sense of  'it' and allow myself a chance to survive...

... The closest concept I could liken it to, was perhaps that of a similar pain that a woman may have gone through with the loss of her aborted child... A loss that maybe wasn't allowed to seem real and a pain, that maybe, was so difficult to harness with an intangible outcome of being left with nothing to show for it but a deep hurt inside.
Perhaps for a woman, losing an aborted baby to a decision that she tried to wrestle her emotions with rationality seems manageable from the outside, but I can imagine the pain that a woman feels from deep, way deep inside her, feeling that she split herself from herself and how it contradicted her as a nurturing being. 
  ... I had avoided seeking help with my childhood, as I felt I had lost my self and could never get it back and that I had somehow let my young self and me down. The reality was, that I couldn't let anyone down at that age, let alone understand too much at all. Giving my childhood over to another human being just didn't seem worth the risk of trying to come to terms with a level a pain that I thought would end me and leave me feeling more empty than I already was...

Later when I got back to the Scotland, Kalba told me that our sessions had affected her and I realized that I had gone to the right person in that weird place called the Pyrenees. It wasn't the Pyrenees that was weird, I suppose, but more, my experiences there combined with the pain I took across the Channel with everything gone in my life... My family, my home, my financial identity... A short affair with a stunt woman in the French Pyrenees, a scrap in a cave with Haston after 2 months of training together, finished with 8 difficult sessions with a psychologist whilst living alone in the small village of Auzat for 4 months to allow what needed to happen to me, come through me, without external confusion from others close to me....  

... It was the most frightening 4 months of my life, preparing myself in August on my own, away from el humano and everything that held a reference to my past. It was the most courageous thing I had ever done with my life. Right through till that last session in late November where I thanked Kalba with all my heart and drove away down the small road from her mountain house through the night towards the UK in the hope that my view of 'it' would have changed as I so dearly hoped. 

I always thought that I would only ever be free of my childhood by either locking it away or somehow murdering it. I had always promised myself when I sat with the knife on my wrist at the age of thirteen, when it was all over, that I would never take my life, because 'fuck them'...  

But it became apparent that my freedom seem to lay in some kind of act of psychological suicide. A cutting of my ropes, a jump with no net into my six year old mind, just the trust of an intelligent woman I had never met till that 1st day when we began our journey into my past, to give over my old life for a new one... So, so frightening. I believed in god as a boy, mainly I think, because I had to believe in something more than the hell inside my young head.


Doing new routes in Gozo Island with Haston before our 'altercation'...

My fight with Haston was probably a result of mutual anger and perceived mutual betrayal. He was angry and I was angry and so we both got angry at each other... In Gozo we had a great time but in the Pyrenees things became complicated and our friendship ended on the floor of a rocky cave  where we had trained hard together with blood spilled and some bones cracked.


The Angry Pair...
Every week in Auzat felt like a year some days as I initially wanted to leave as soon as the stunt woman and I parted.  It was the deepest sadness I could ever have felt with a combination of untimely and difficult life experiences all jacking up in one overwhelming wave of pain and sadness and I knew that I could never again be this profoundly sad and survive it. But I had made a commitment to myself to start the process of therapy to try and get beyond my childhood and hopefully set me free to be more open and as loving a person was possible...

... I asked Kalba about a lot of things in the Pyrenees, every minute was precious to me in that room and my main concern was learning how to just let go of myself like others could, I craved this and I feared this. I never allowed myself to truly let go emotionally with a woman. But on the rock as a boy, where I knew what it was, what it could do to me and how far I was supposed to go with it, then it was easy...

... But in life, with people, they were allowed nowhere near me. To let someone close to that who I might one day learn to love, was just horrendous, unimaginable but to eventually fall truly in love, I realized I must give her all of me for it to be real and so I took the journey into that place I never dared go and began to unlock it all, aware that it would potentially destroy all of me and maybe leave me (who ever I was to become) and her (who ever she was to be) with nothing...

... I craved openness but feared it more than smashing onto the ground, or being thrown out of a car again or falling down another mountain. I had done these tangible things, yet feared this intangible emptiness much much more ...

... Simply breathing some days after the process had began, felt truly brutal, paranoia attacks became regular until, I removed myself as much as I could from others to avoid them getting hurt or confused by my hurt and confusion...

... Kalba attacked it like I asked her, with as much courage and honesty as we could find in the room to truly get this out of me. I didn't want tricks or psychology tools. I wanted solely to meet all of it head on, piece by difficult piece, until it was finally gone from me. I fully understood what it had taken for me to lock it all away all those years, and I knew we had to fight for the truth, to my psychological limit (which was the most frightening thing). 

She watched as I floated around the nth degree of real and unreal whilst she held onto me, as I lost where I was anymore able only to stare at that single spot on her white radiator but saw nothing real before me as I wandered in and out of my child's mind then she would bring me back, back into the room with some kind of sense that I could slowly and carefully understand...

... For every session completed with Kalba, I would have great expectations of leaving the room and driving away from her house with some sense of how different I felt, but it wasn't until the days after, that the session's content took hold of me in a way that felt like I was slowly dying inside. A slow pain that I was unable to run away from now that I had finally begun this process. It was so raw, so profoundly  terrifying to start something that I knew would not stop but yet not know how it was all going to end up for me. I only hoped that I was finally on the right path back towards a place that might just free my mind from the years of complicated, unresolved circles of thoughts and questions that had no real answers as to why it had all happened to me, to myself...

... I craved company up there in Auzat, mainly in the evenings, but went without, just watching a singular film that seemingly held some significance and concentrating on my project of facing my changing mind, my change in perceptions of just about everything. I had never been so committed to such a thing in my life. It was my life...


Auzat, Balcony
... Seeking inspiration was all I tried to turn to up there in Auzat to carry me through the nights in that room, or in the day on that balcony. But it was not inspiration I was finding in myself, just confusion becoming un confused, just anger shifting towards pain and slowly pain becoming sadness. A sadness that my young life had been consumed by the abuse of control and to come to terms with the loss of my past. 

Coming to terms with something so complicated took everything. It wasn't about being intelligent, intelligence had little value in this murderous place, truth held my way but the truth was nearly unbearable. For me, it was about actually learning to simply begin to feel. But I knew if I allowed myself to feel that the pain I had stored from my childhood would just avalanche over me and this time, maybe take me with it. But until the feelings became something that were finally real, then I would never be allowed to feel what real love was. So I began to feel... painful, but real...

 ... Looking at the truth in the mirror each morning, looking for a person I could recognize as me, became a ritual, like watching the film, like stretching my core, like running towards the Spanish border up the dark road at night. Rituals that would stop me thinking too much, stop me sinking too much...


Eiger North Face
... I didn't read many books but felt compelled to read a true story of 'Olli' by Stephen Venables in small careful amounts on the plane back and forward from the Pyrenees to the UK to see my daughters during the therapy sessions, and on the balcony in the sun waiting for 'it' to pass through me... You know 'it'... not the sweetcorn I had eaten on the plane, but my lifetime of pain that was screaming to get out without taking all of me with it...


... I am deeply saddened when I hear of others and their abusive past. Unlocking such a thing is probably the most courageous thing one can ever have to do in ones life, but for me, I was so sure it would be the biggest gift to my young self that I could get back for us both, as a man... As a man... 


"In this way, the self-trauma model is ultimately optimistic; It assumes that much of abuse-related "pathology" and dysfunction are solutions in the making, albeit ones intrinsically more focused on survival than recovery. At the same time, unfortunately, the inescapable implication of abuse-focused therapy (and any other exposure-based treatment) is that in order to reduce post traumatic pain and fear, both must be repeatedly confronted and experienced. As therapists, we should not forget what we are asking of our clients in this regard, lest we lose track of the courage and strengths that they inevitably must bring to the treatment process. ..." 

Thanks man!